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With a passion for the environment, Haley Schaeffer plans to advance upon the work of great conservationists like Jane Goodall, Steven Amstrup, and John Muir. The Coast Guard dependent was awarded a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship to pursue her Conservation Biology Degree at St. Lawrence University.

Haley SchaefferHaley explains, “Climate Change and Environmental Devastation are two things which I have become personally invested in the past several years.” Before graduating high school, she had already volunteered over 1800 hours as a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo, served as an ambassador for the Johnson Creek Watershed, and was president of her high school’s Conservation Corps. .

This past summer, Haley traveled to Costa Rica where use volunteered with the Sea Turtle Restoration Center. When the fall term started, she was eager to involve herself in campus activities that would supplement her major. She joined the Environmental Action Organization which works to keep the St. Lawrence campus environmentally responsible. “We attended the national Powershift Conference, which really helped to open my eyes to how most of the social and environmental issues prevalent today are connected. It was great to see so many people who are taking action!”

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Taken in Costa Rica near the Sea Turtle Restoration Center

Haley is also embracing the natural beauty of the surrounding Adirondacks. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking, as well as working on local communes. “Being involved in nature inspires me to do my part to protect the ecosystems that I am in.”

Haley’s father, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Daniel Schaeffer, retired from the Coast Guard after serving during a span of over thirty years. “I respect him and am proud of his contribution to our armed forces. It makes me even more driven to do my part to protect our natural environment as he did the people and resources of our rivers and coast lines.”

Ultimately, Haley plans to continue her education, earning a Master’s in Wildlife Management and a Doctorate in Conservation Biology and Ecology. Since Haley’s experiences thus far have only strengthened her desires to advance conservation efforts, the ThanksUSA team is confident that she will reach her goals and likely inspire fellow students along the way.

“Since being named a recipient of the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, my dream of majoring in Conservation Biology is becoming a realty. Thank you so much again for your contribution! I could not have attended this school if it were not for kind people and organizations such as you.”

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Today is #GivingTuesday and ThanksUSA has joined with thousands of non-profits around the country to celebrate this national movement dedicated to celebrating giving and volunteering.

Together we can support the men and women of the U.S. military by providing their families with the gift of a college scholarship.

Give The Gift of Gab

Donate your Facebook status or Tweet – tell your friends about how you support military families with ThanksUSA
Follow ThanksUSA on social media
Twitter – @ThanksUSA
Facebook /ThanksUSA
Share your #unselfie on social media – Take a pic, tag it #unselfie #givingtuesday and #ThanksUSA and upload it to your social networks.

Unselfie

Help us give a gift that will last well beyond the holiday season.

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ThanksUSA Announces TH9!

THANKSUSA ANNOUNCES NINTH ANNUAL TREASURE HUNT CHALLENGE

November 26, 2013, Washington, DC – ThanksUSA and their partner the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation today announced the launch of the ninth annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9), a free, fully interactive digital trivia and puzzle game about U.S. history, culture and values. The hunt supports ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel by providing need-based scholarships for two-year or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools. The focus of this year’s hunt will be the United States Bill of Rights.

The digital trivia game will be assessable starting Thanksgiving Day, November 28. Participants will be quizzed on the Bill of Rights’ history, purpose and implications on American life. It is the first of six Treasure Hunt chapters available for free online (www.thanksusa.org) and via mobile application.

“Treasure Hunt 9 promises to be one of our most challenging contests ever, engaging students and their families across the country while reminding them of the sacrifices of our troops,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork. “The ESA Foundation’s continued support for the contest and scholarships will help ThanksUSA cross the $10 million mark in scholarships.”

The ESA Foundation has underwritten the annual Treasure Hunt series for five years and also funds 25 “ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships” annually. Since its inception in 2005, more than 12,000 Americans have engaged in ThanksUSA treasure hunts that reflect the nation’s history, values and culture while raising awareness and funds for the educational pursuits of military families.

“The U.S. video game industry is proud to support our nation’s troops and their families,” said Jenny Lai, vice president of the ESA Foundation. “We are proud to help educate children through the use of digital technology and bring our unique and impactful resources to augment ThanksUSA’s remarkable mission and work.”

Following the official launch of Treasure Hunt Nine on November 28, subsequent chapters will be introduced on the first of each month beginning January 1, 2014. The six-month Bill of Rights challenge will close on May 31, 2014, and will be followed by a summer bonus round slated for July 4 – August 15, 2014.

Four players who correctly answer each chapter’s questions will each receive a $250 Walmart gift certificate. A grand prize – a $500 Walmart gift card – will be drawn from the pool of individuals who correctly answer all questions in each round.

The Treasure Hunt series serves to generate attention and donations for ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund. Since 2006, ThanksUSA award over 3,000 need-based scholarships valued at nearly $10 million to families representing all branches of the armed services across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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ThanksUSA_Logo_1About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, please visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

PrintAbout the ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation was created by the American interactive entertainment software industry to support and provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America’s youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from industry projects and and its annual fundraiser, “A Nite to Unite – for Kids.” For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit www.ESAFoundation.org

2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Marine Corps spouse and ThanksUSA scholar MaKenna Arrigo! Earlier this year, with the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, MaKenna completed her Psychology studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, earning Cum Laude honors.

Although her husband, Sergeant Christopher Arrigo, USMC, was deployed at the time, MaKenna’s mother, Marilyn Hughes, and her grandfather, Michael McDonough were in attendance to support their graduate.

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“It was the one of the happiest days of my life and also one of the most emotional as I wished my late father and my deployed husband could have been there.”

The military has always been part of MaKenna’s life. Her grandfather served in the Army during the Korean War and her father, CWO Robert Buotte, dedicated over 28 years of service to the Coast Guard before his unexpected passing in 2010.

Now that she has earned her BA in Psychology, MaKenna has been busy making plans for graduate school. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a career as a social worker within the military community.

MaKenna_Arrigo 2012

“As both a military child and spouse, I want to thank the supporters of the ThanksUSA organization from the bottom of my heart. The support from this organization has given me a chance to achieve an undergraduate college degree and now set my sights higher to a masters degree.”

.The ThanksUSA team congratulates MaKenna on her academic accomplishments and wishes her continued success with her graduate studies. In the coming weeks, Scholarship News readers will be introduced to the new 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship recipients, so be sure to check back often.

Concert Flyer for Red, White and Greenbrier 2013 v3

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THANKSUSA MARKS $9 MILLION MILESTONE

More than 3,000 children and spouses of U.S. troops awarded the gift of education

Mclean, VA – August 29, 2013 – ThanksUSA today announced that it has awarded more than $9 million to date in post-secondary school scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. troops. This milestone includes approximately 300 new scholarships awarded over the past week, totaling nearly $1 million in funds.

Since its founding in 2005 by sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun, ThanksUSA has awarded over 3,000 scholarships to military families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We were just girls – I was 10 and Kelsi was eight – when we started looking for a way to thank our troops for all they sacrifice in keeping us safe,” said Rachel Okun, now 17. “Over the past eight years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who feel the same and who want to help support military families through ThanksUSA.”

“We understood the importance of a good education and wanted to share our blessings with the families of our service men and women,” added Kelsi Okun, now 14. “The gift of education is the perfect way to do so.”

The Okun sisters travel the country speaking with ThanksUSA scholarship recipients in order to introduce them to Americans through video profiles and speeches. ThanksUSA’s new videos will be released at the organization’s annual gala at Washington DC’s Newseum on September 25, 2013, hosted by Lara Logan of CBS News. Tom Brokaw will be honored at the gala as will Col. Lanier Ward, survivor of a critical battle in Iraq and inspiration for ThanksUSA. Senator Roy Blunt, who represents 74 Missouri scholarship recipients, will also be honored. Senator Blunt took a personal interest in ThanksUSA as a House Member discussing the program with the troops in Iraq during the formative years of the program.

Among this year’s award recipients is Donnice Roberts, proud widow of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Casey Roberts. Donnice is pursuing dual degrees in Education and Rehabilitation Services with the end goal of working within the military community.

“I am truly grateful to ThanksUSA for this generous scholarship. I want to honor my husband’s legacy by using my education to help fellow military families. My children are learning that even through tragedy, we can overcome and succeed. With your support, I will make a difference and I will succeed.”

ThanksUSA also announced today a continuing partnership with the world-record holding doubles tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The organization has established a nationwide Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign – a partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) involving tennis pros, fans and local communities, and presents an online challenge called the “ ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt,” sponsored since 2008 by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which explore the nation’s history, culture and values.

As the battle in Iraq ends and the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, ThanksUSA plans to step up efforts to support the families of military personnel who are re-integrating into the workplace. Helping service members’ children and spouses advance their education and achieve successful careers will relieve the new pressures that challenge those who have returned home.

“Our troops and their families deserve our respect and our thanks for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 years,” said General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff and ThanksUSA board member. “They have borne significant burdens to protect this country, and we cannot allow their contributions to be quickly forgotten. Their mission of defending us is, unfortunately, not over.”

About ThanksUSA
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.

2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Navy dependent and newly commissioned Air Force officer, Allia Grace Martinez! Receiving a total of $9,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships, this amazing scholar recently earned her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, graduating from the University of South Alabama with Cum Laude honors.

Allia Grace Martinez

Graduation day served as an exceptionally memorable day as Allia Grace was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Her family shared in her commissioning by pinning on her bars, while the first salute was rendered by her father, CSC Alfredo Dyune Martinez, U.S. Navy (Ret).

ThanksUSA supporters may recognize Allia Grace and her family from previous Scholarship News blog posts. Thanks to gracious contributions from Lockheed Martin, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Charity Works, and Military Connection, Allia Grace and her brothers, Aljo Victor and Alden David, have received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $15,000!

The entire ThanksUSA team congratulates Allia Grace on her accomplishments and we wish her well as she trains for her Air Force career in Space and Missiles. We also extend our thanks to the Martinez family for sharing this special day with ThanksUSA supporters!

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“We as a family would like to, once again, express our gratitude to ThanksUSA and all the grantors who make it possible for students like our daughter finish college. Your time and generosity are greatly appreciated. We will never forget your kindness to our family. May God bless you all abundantly.”
Sincerely,
Dyune and Amy Martinez